Simone Morris
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Simone Morris

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Jazz Adult Contemporary

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"Settling Up - Simone Morris | The WholeNote"

Toronto jazz vocalist Simone Morris’ debut album Settling Up is an absolute treat to the listener, a pop of delicious and sultry goodness in an otherwise dull and dreary day. The album was born out of a longtime collaboration with guitarist Mike Freedman, who is featured as a co-writer on each track along with Morris. Freedman’s mellow and fittingly soulful electric guitar licks, in combination with acclaimed pianist Adrean Farrugia’s delightful keyboard and piano riffs, add just the right amount of spirit to complement Morris’ soulful vocals.

Morris has described the album as “weaving a musical path that conveys diverse musical experience and background.” It is easy to fall into a pleasant lull and meander along this path with each piece offering a new stylistic experience that perfectly showcases her unique timbre and exceptionally varied musical background. From tracks such as Baby This Works and Man in the Corner, which delve into traditional jazz, to Don’t Come Crying To Me, an excellent, soft bossa nova, Morris’ artistic talents are made very apparent. With a very unique timbre, slightly Krall-esque but with an intriguing touch of spunk, she has succeeded in creating a captivating modern yet timeless quality within her music.

Not only do we receive an absolutely lovely and charming musical experience from this record, we are also able to catch a rare and intimate glimpse into Morris’ life experiences. Settling Up will delight jazz aficionados and newcomers alike. - The WholeNote (Kati Killaspea)


"CBC Radio "Big City, Small World""

"Gorgeous album..." - Errol Nazareth (host)


"CHRW-FM 94.9 "Jazz For A Sunday Night""

"Thank you for restoring my faith in good vocalizing." - Barrie Woodey (host)


"100.9 Canoe FM "Jazz at the 45th""

"Simone's voice is just right for me with a tinge of sassy 'coarseness' that I am very fond of. " - Tim Hagarty (host)


Discography

ALBUM (full-length):  "Settling Up" (self-released) - November 2, 2018

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Bio

Simone Morris: Jazz Vocalist/Songwriter 

They tried to tell her she was too young to start playing piano. But as usual, Simone convinced them otherwise. Innate musicality was evident at an early age, beginning in her study of classical piano at age 6. Mature interpretive and technical abilities caught the attention of her teachers, and she was deemed an outstanding talent. As a youngster, she volunteered for anything musical - from piano performance competitions where she frequently placed in the Top 5 (often the youngest in her group), to concert & stage bands, musical theatre productions (leading the pit-band), accompanying school choirs and instrumental Royal Conservatory exams, to summer jobs as Musical Director in musical theatre.

She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University (Toronto), with a focus in contemporary improvisation. She discovered her voice in a life-changing way as a member of, and soloist in, the University's Jazz Choir ("Wibijazz'n'”). The joy of singing - its raw expression - caused her to re-focus, hone her chops, and begin her lifelong path as a vocalist. A born-communicator, Simone knew she'd found the ideal form of musical expression for her.

Exuding an intriguing blend of deep connection to music and words, technique, subtlety, and that touch of amusing spunk that has her audiences hanging on every word, she artfully lures listeners into her craftily spun musical stories treating them to an intimate 'dig-deep' kind of musical experience delicately wrapped in velvety sweetness and poetic charm.

Known for her soulful takes on life and love, Simone draws from the influence of early obsessions with singers such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, & Joni Mitchell, but it is in Jazz that she is most firmly rooted. She fondly remembers her father's jazz records echoing through the family home and they were always accompanied by detailed stories about the musicians. Her dad was a history buff and a master storyteller. The voices of jazz -- especially women -- became of particular interest to Simone, and she lovingly immersed herself in the smallest details of her idols - Billie Holliday, Anita O'Day, Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone.

Simone is a regular performer across the Greater Toronto Area and is as at home playing a duo concert as she is leading a full band. She has been featured in notable jazz clubs such as The Jazz Bistro, Manhattans, etc., as well as on multiple festival stages.

At first solely a singer of standards, she felt inspired to tell her own stories and wholeheartedly delved deeper into writing to ultimately release her debut all-original jazz album in November 2018. "SETTLING UP" exploded onto the scene at #1 on the iTunes Canada Jazz Chart to wide-acclaim, extensive radio airplay, interviews and reviews (including a 30-minute feature on CBC Radio's "Fresh Air"). Featuring performances by treasured Canadian jazz musicians: Adrean Farrugia (Piano), William Sperandei (Trumpet) and Bill McBirnie (Flute), and Mike Freedman (Co-writer, Guitar), Chris Adriaanse (Bass), Max Senitt (Drums), the songs are reflective, poignant and personal -- chock full of eclectic textures and rhythms reflecting her diverse musical background and experience.

A second album is firmly underway with an expected release date in late 2022. The newest writing reflects a fresh take on life -- a new life -- rebirth resulting from the biggest changes ever from 2019 to present. With it comes a new connection to her soul, and in her signature style, she connects it through music to the lives of others. Teaming up with Geoff Hlibka (guitar), who shares her philosophy that good music is good music, regardless of genre, has given way to exciting stylistic departures that reflect the 'dance' of emotional expression, maturity, humour and soul in their jazz-rooted pieces. 

Band Members